Kristen Renee Miller


"1109 Rounds and a Brief Psychological Profile" is an erasure of the New York Times article "I Wish I Could Tell You He Was a Miserable Bastard," by Sabrina Tavernise, Serge F. Kovaleski, and Julie Turkewit, printed on October 8, 2017. The article profiles the mass shooter who opened fire into a crowd of Las Vegas concertgoers, killing 58 and injuring 851.

While I was making the poem, my mind was on the way writers construct narratives about mass killers, sifting through their histories, extracting some details and omitting others. In this sense, the article I used for my erasure poem was already an erasure itself. And by making an erasure poem to criticize this process—the constructing, the erasing—I also became complicit in it.

In the poem, I obscure the original Times profile with hash marks matching the number of rounds fired: “over 1100” in ten minutes, according to LVMPD. Fragments of the story remain: a sort of sinister, obsessive, looping set of images of which little sense can be made. But, from a visual standpoint, the physicality and volume of the shooter’s destructive actions make up the greater share.